Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Project 365 - Trimester Awards...

Our elementary school gives awards once per trimester... and each class only has 4 awards... Best in Language Arts, Math, Citizen, and Best Overall.  On a side note, it drives me NUTS when schools feel the need to give EVERYONE an award so that nobody will have their feelings hurt... not only does it diminish the value of any award (and the hard work that some kids actually put into their school work), but it does nothing to prepare kids for reality... (I could go on and on about this subject, but I will leave it there...)

We were thrilled when we got the "secret invitation" to the First Trimester Awards Ceremony.  Knowing that Anna was getting an award, I made up a story about it being a special day at school, curled her hair, had her put on one of her favorite outfits, and took a few photos of her before school.

Anna with Principal Ausby... he is one of the most AWESOME Principals that I've ever known!
 Anna was awarded Best in Language Arts.  Although she is in first grade, she is already reading at a third grade level.  Besides the the awards ceremony, the certificate and the medal, the BEST part of this honor is that the kids get to ring the historic school bell... over 100 years old... very heavy... and very cool!
Poor Mr. Ausby... that bell is VERY hard to ring because it is so heavy and while the kids pose for their pictures, he pulls and pulls that bell!

Project 365 - A Day of Fishing...

We live about 1/2 mile from a beautiful lake and hiking/mountain biking/camping and although we hike and bike often, we don't visit the lake much at all.  So, we decided to use some of our Veteran's Day holiday to do some fishing.  It was Anna's first fishing trip and although she didn't understand why she had to be so quiet and why it was so hard to catch a fish, she had a good time.

Anna's first catch...
A TON of ducks kept Anna busy!

Project 365 - Senior Night...

GREAT NEWS! Santa brought us a BRAND NEW COMPUTER!!! WOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!!! It has been YEARS since my computer ran this fast... and months since it worked at all! A typical blog post used to take me around 2 hours... now, less than 30 minutes! So... I have 7 weeks of Project 365 to catch up with and not much time to get it done, so, for a marathon of Project 365 posts... HERE WE GO!

Senior Football Night... the last home game of the season... the last time that our senior boys would play in their high school stadium. The first of many "lasts" that we will be going through this year. Senior Night tradition is that the family escorts their senior player onto the field... and the senior gives his mom a flower as the announcer reads some sentimental comments written by the senior for his family.

We won one of two annual "Friday Night Lights" auction packages which included a reserved, front row parking spot at all home football games, free admission to ALL HOME SPORTS GAMES for the year for two people, and dinner for two at all home football games.  It sure was a fun novelty to share when we brought family and friends with us to the games!
For posterity sake, Mom and Dad couldn't make it to the game because they were caring for Mary (who went through surgery that day to put a plate and multiple screws in her wrist and lower left arm... FYI... don't swing dance in a cardboard box, with high heels on, after several Halloween cocktails... just saying...) We were so happy that Papa could be here for Senior Night... actually, he was at almost every single game of the season! So... Jeff, Anna, Papa and I escorted Chris onto the field... I got my flower... we heard Chris' comments... and I held it together and didn't need that tissue that I held tightly in one hand...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our Cancer Story... Happy 6th Cancer Free Anniversary, Sweetheart...

Before I jump into our story, I wanted to let you know why I have been so quiet lately... actually, for the past two months.  Our computer has finally given out (after almost a decade of loyal service!)  We have been pulling the money together (seriously... after property taxes on December 10th and Christmas, is there anything left!?) :-)  It looks like Santa will be bringing us a new computer for Christmas and I will get right back to my normal posting... lots of fun layouts, projects, product reviews and family stuff.  Thanks for hanging in there during my absence!!!

Onto the real reason for today's post... Jeff's 6 YEAR CANCER ANNIVERSARY!!!...

The journey that we started 6 years ago TODAY changed our lives... there were really, really bad and dark times... but there were also very uplifting, loving, and hysterically funny times. There were moments that we didn't think it could get any worse, followed almost immediatly by a wink, or a gentle hand squeeze, or the look that Jeff and I give each other when nobody else exists in the world... it is just us... together... in perfect love... knowing that things would be alright.

Several years ago I wrote about the first few hours after diagnosis... I believe this is the third year in a row I have posted this story on this special day.  Jeff and I have been overwhelmed with the touching comments that so many of you post each year... so as long as you enjoy and/or are touched by our story, I will continue this annual tradition.
Dedicated to the unlikely star of the story,
my love, my Sweetheart, my best friend,
my hero, my husband, Jeff.

Snickerdoodles, peanut butter, sugar cookies and spritz cookies…that should finish off our holiday baking. Go on a city drive of Christmas lights. Buy a pair of jeans to match the pink sweater for Jessica. Spend an afternoon in Julian and get hot apple cider. Finish wrapping gifts.

It was December 16th, 2004 and a week before Christmas. I was sitting in the waiting area of the Gastroenterology Department of Scripps Green Hospital writing my list of last minute Christmas ‘To Dos.’ Anna Grace, then six months old, was waiting with me for Daddy to be done with his colonoscopy. Jeff hadn’t been feeling well and hadn’t been eating very much. As he was preparing for the colonoscopy, he told me he was craving a Double-Double from In-N-Out. I promised I would take him there as soon as his procedure was over.

“Mrs. Locher?” Dr. Nodurft was standing in front of me. “May I have a word with you?”

He guided me through a door that led to the examination rooms. I walked down the hallway, pushing Anna’s stroller in front of me. All morning, the nurses that walked by Anna had stopped and made some comment about how cute she was or how happy. There were two nurses standing in the doorway of an exam room, waiting for Anna’s stroller to pass by in the little hallway. This time the nurses didn’t look at Anna. They looked me in the eye. They didn’t smile. They looked down at the floor. For a split second, things started moving in slow motion. Could there be a problem with Jeff? As the cold fingers of dread started twisting in my stomach, I calmly reminded myself that Jeff was 44 years old, in great health, and in good shape. I knew I was being led to the transition room where my slightly drugged up husband would be waiting for me, right? Everything would be fine! Everything would be fine!

I wasn’t led to the transition room, but a small exam room. There wasn’t room for the stroller, so I left it outside and carried Anna in. Dr. Nodurft entered the room with us and another doctor followed behind us. The room seemed to be filled by the exam table and I remember how white the paper liner looked on the table. Did I say the room was small? That feeling of slow motion was starting again and I had a bad feeling. There couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with Jeff. Don’t doctors give you bad news in their private office, or in a family waiting room…or in a private, small exam room…

NO! I was cuddling our beautiful baby girl…Jeff waited so long to become a Daddy…nothing could stop him from watching his children grow up…from walking his daughters down the aisle…to watching his son become a father and passing the family name to the next generation…why were they just standing there? But, I knew the answer, didn’t I!?

“As you know, your husband was here today for a colonoscopy. He has been bleeding internally and we needed to find the source of the blood. We found a tumor…” I tried to concentrate on the next words coming from Jeff’s doctor, but I seem to have gone deaf.

“I guess I won’t be taking Jeff to In-N-Out.” I told the doctor about my earlier promise. I smiled and was silent. He seemed to know that I needed a moment to process reality.

I was standing there, holding Anna. I was dizzy and darkness was creeping in from the sides of my eyes. Shouldn’t the doctor take Anna from me so I don’t drop her? I sat down in the only chair in the room.

I knew what my next question was going to be, but how would I ask it? I started my question several times, but only uttered a few disconnected words… “Is…will…it’s not…he can’t be…Jeff is not terminal…” came out more as a shaky statement than a question.

Dr. Nodurft explained we wouldn’t know anything without more tests and until the pathology was completed on the specimen that would be collected during surgery. We talked a bit more and I was told that Jeff was still out and wouldn’t be ready to see me for awhile. The good doctor suggested a nice, quiet spot outside by the reflection pond where I could make some phone calls. He assured me he would come get me when Jeff was awake and ready for a visit.

I sat down by the pond. Nobody was around but the coffee cart barista. I don’t know what the temperature was, but I was cold and shivering. Anna was so quiet…almost as if she knew what was happening. She just looked at me as tears flowed down my face.

I remember thinking of a line from one of my favorite TV shows, Lost. Jack, the young doctor character, explained that in order to deal with the emotional situations related to his work, he would allow himself to give into his fear/pain/grief for a count of ten. Then he would take a deep breath and concentrate on what had to be done to rectify the situation. I slowly counted to 10, took that all important deep breath and called my Mom.


“Mom?” I could barely get the word out.

“What’s going on?” Her voice was shaking by the end of her question. She knew where I was.

“They found cancer…” came out in one gush of breath, as if I had been punched in the stomach.

Mom was sobbing by the time she finished her “Oh my God!”

I gave her the limited information that I had. “They don’t know how bad…Jeff is being admitted…surgery tomorrow…Jeff doesn’t know yet…”

I guess Mom knew the “10-second Fear Rule” because she was quickly down to business.

“I will call your Dad and get him home…”

“You don’t have to pull him out of work,” I inserted because I knew Dad had used all his vacation time for the year.

“I can tell you that he will not be able to work after he hears this news. I will pack while he gets home and we will be there as soon as possible.” She already had a plan for getting Anna from me at the hospital, picking up Jessica and Christian from school, and staying at our house with the kids as long as we needed. Isn’t that what Moms do best? They take care of business when their kids need them!

The next call was to our church. I knew Jeff would want Father Jim to pray with us before the surgery. I requested Jeff be added to the parish prayer chain. Both requests were granted.

Next, Jeff’s Dad. The receptionist was telling me Jeff’s Dad was out of the office just as Jeff’s doctor walked up. “Jeff is awake and ready to see you.” I would track down Jeff’s Dad after I had a chance to see Jeff.

Anna and I were led to the transition room. I knew my eyes were swollen from crying, but my “10-seconds of Fear” were over (actually, by that time, I was up to about 40 seconds) and I was going to be strong for my incredible husband.

I could hear the beeping of the medical machines from all the patients hiding behind their privacy curtains. I could hear the nurses’ shoes squeaking on the floor. I could smell that unmistakable scent of “hospital.” Our eyes met. I was strong. He looked like he was still out of it. Everything else faded away. My grasp tightened on Anna’s stroller. There was a long pause, smiles from both of us, and almost simultaneously we both said, “I guess we’re not going to In-N-Out.” He had been told. He reached for my hand. Our grasp was strong. Neither of us let go. So many questions. Not many answers. No guarantees. Yet, we both felt a slight feeling of calm, serenity, peace. The feeling was buried by the fear and sadness and questions and that “spiraling out of control” feeling, but it was there. You can call it what you want…denial, hope, naiveté…I call it faith. No matter how small that pinprick of a feeling was, we knew everything was going to be okay. Looking back, I can pinpoint that moment, that first look and coming together of husband and wife during a life-altering situation, as the moment that God stopped walking with us, but gathered us in His protective arms and carried us. Together.

Ironically, as I finish writing this story, I am sitting in a waiting room. Anna is asleep in her stroller. It is one year later and Jeff is having his first colonoscopy since going through surgery to remove the tumor, which came with a foot of large intestine, some small intestine, his appendix and 29 lymph nodes. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer, has endured six months of chemotherapy, and two additional surgeries. He is still dealing with side effects from the chemo, but we know those will fade one day soon.

“You can come in now.” The nurse is standing at the recovery room door. I had been pretty calm until this moment. I thank the nurse and start pushing Anna toward the door. The nurse is smiling at me and commenting on how cute Anna is. Although I smile back, I think I have stopped breathing.

I hear machines beeping, nurses’ shoes squeaking on the floor, and recognize that antiseptic smell. There are five nurses walking around the room. They all smile at me and make cute comments about Anna. Jeff’s nurse leads me to his bedside. He appears to be asleep.

Jeff’s nurse hands me the report from Dr. Nodurft. The first thing I see is a happy face. The report reads, “Well done, Mr. Locher! Your colon is perfectly normal! Great news. Next colonoscopy is recommended in three years. Let me know when you get back to cycling and we should go sometime!”

A single tear is rolling down my face. “Thank God! Jeff is going to be fine!,” I enthusiastically say to the nurse. I look over at Jeff…he hasn’t moved…his eyes are closed… and he is smiling.

I love you, Sweetheart! Make it an INCREDIBLE day, Everyone!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Graphic 45 and Core'dinations Blog Hop!

Be sure to check out the Core'dinations and Graphic 45 Blog Hop happening this week, Dec 6-10! See some amazing crafts using the new Core Impressions/Graphic 45 Timeless Collection and there are going to be prizes!!! Oh, so exciting!

You can see one of my samples in the post below... the "Time Flies, So Flirt" layout was created using the Core'dinations Cardstock!  I LOVE that stuff!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Graphic 45 and My Little Shoebox Fun...

"Time Flies, So Flirt!"  Photos from our engagement photo shoot... ahhhhhh, isn't Jeff CUTE!? ;-)
  I wanted to share a few quick projects and a link!  I had three projects featured on the Graphic 45 Blog yesterday (November 23rd)!  With as cool as it is to be featured, there is something pretty special going on with the comments over there.  Everyone was asked to write what they are thankful for... a pretty basic request for this time of year.  However, the comments are anything but basic.  Short... yes.  To the point... yep.  But the gratitude and things people are thankful for will hit you in your heart.  Go check it out!  You'll be thankful you did! ;-)
Close up of the hand cut butterflies and the detail on the new Coredinations Cardstock for Graphic 45!
Matthew and Sarah... a few years ago, but this photo was PERFECT for the Holly Jolly line by My Little Shoebox!

Make it a WONDERFUL day!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We Have a HOPPY Winner...

After a frustrating day of no phone or computer service (AUGHHHHH!!!), I am finally back on-line to announce the Blog Hop RAK winner...

It is Lindy, who wrote...

"I am thankful for all my scrapbooking supplies and friends and the fact that I can document our memories for my family.  Love love love your Christmas projects. TFS :)  O, I'm a follower."

Lindy, email me at with your contact information so I can mail out one of each of the sticker sheets for the current releases (6 lines plus Holly Jolly... 7 sticker sheets!)

Oh, and since several of you asked, here are a few details for the card holder...

The back panel was 9" x 9" and the pocket was 3" deep.  I have sheets of 12" x 12" chipboard that I cut down for the project.  The most important part is how sturdy the pocket is... Christmas cards can get heavy and you don't want your beautiful project to fall apart!  Use something like duct tape to hold the piece together.  It doesn't matter what it looks like under the patterned paper as long as it is STRONG!!!

Thanks for hopping along with My Little Shoebox and joining me here at "Wooooo Hooooo!"  I have more fun planned this week, so grab your latte, cuddle up in the recliner near the fire, and stay awhile! ;-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Little Shoebox Blog Hop... Hop... Hop... TUTORIAL...RAK...

YOU MADE IT!  Welcome to the second to last stop on the My Little Shoebox "Thankful" Blog Hop!  If you are following along with the Hop, you just came from Miss Melanie Stanczyk's blog... WELCOME!  If you just happen to be here today, you DON'T want to miss all the MLS Hop fun and prize opportunities!  You can start from the beginning at the My Little Shoebox Blog.

Sooooo... the theme of this blog hop is "Thankful." After going through all the other uber talented blogs from MLS, I'm sure you have seen AWESOME projects and heard all sorts of things the design team gals are thankful for.  You will hear a bit about being thankful from me in a bit, but first, onto the FUN! 

3D Christmas Card Tutorial

Step 1:  Determine the size of the card.  (Easy so far, right!?)
Step 2:  Cut a piece of chipboard that is the same size as the card (across) and about 1/2 the size of the card (up and down).
Step 3:  Cover the piece of chipboard with your choice of cardstock. (So you don't have to try to match it to the chipboard later!)
Step 4:  Use your exacto knife to cut a wavy interior border for your chipboard frame.
Step 5:  Adhere your new chipboard frame to your card with foam adhesive.

Step 6:  After cutting around 100 flowers with your Cricut (because you would be CRAZY to cut them out by hand), take the end of a pen, push it into the center of a flower (be sure to bend the flower petals up around the pen)... 

... and push it into place (of course, you have already put adhesive down on the card. I used Glue Dots.)
We all did this technique when we were kids, didn't we... you know, using the eraser side of a pencil, tissue paper squares and white glue... to make our annual Thanksgiving Turkey... I LOVED those turkeys...

Note:  Place the flowers VERY close to each other, almost on top of each other to get this effect.  Once your raised frame is full, open a few select flowers and place rhinestones in the center.  I also slid my Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad across the top of the flowers once they were in place to add a bit of extra detail, as you can see in the side shot below.

So there you go!  A fun Christmas card to send to your favorite loved ones!  Next, you need a place to display all of the cards that you recieve this year, right!?  I created this fun card holder with chipboard, MLS "Holly Jolly" paper and borders, trim and this antique hanger tied with a bow.  

So... I promised I would be "thankful" as we head into our Thanksgiving holiday!  I decided to share several things about my passion for Scrapping that I am Thankful for...

1.  My Cricut... because there is NO WAY that I could have created that card without it!
2.  My Little Shoebox... (no, I'm not kissing up)... The products they release each season are simply wonderful... high quality... darling designs... bright colors... and embellishments, borders, stickers and alphas that are so easy to use and AWESOME!  And don't even get me started on the fab gals on the Design Team... HOLLA!
3.  My Family... my husband allows me the opportunity to stay home and raise the family (and design on the side)... my kids put up with my ever present camera... and they all support me when I am on a deadline and can't make a homemade dinner, or do the laundry, or, or, or... my family totally rocks!!!

I could go on and on and on about how thankful I am that I found this wonderful community called, "Scrapbooking"... and it doesn't matter if it is a layout, card, altered item, published, or in a frame on the wall... the friends I have made... the passion I feel... the creativity I can express... I am truly blessed and thankful to be a part of this thing called Scrapping!

RAK ALERT!!!... For those of you that are new to "Wooooo Hooooo,"  please join my Friends and Followers over there on the right hand side of my blog.  Once you are a follower (or remind me that you already are one), leave a comment on this post letting me know what, about scrapping, makes you thankful.  I will randomly choose one comment to win a fun MLS RAK on Monday, November 22nd.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!  Now, onto the last stop on this blog hop, Debbie Sherman...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

GRAPHIC 45 TUTORIAL - "Hallowe'en In Wonderland" Inspired Mobile

BLOG HOP ALERT!  Graphic 45 and Spellbinders are CROSS-HOPPING this weekend... starting TODAY!  Be sure to check out all the fun and prize opportunities!!!

I am THRILLED to share with you the steps to create a fun and zany "Hallowe'en In Wonderland" inspired mobile...  as shared on the Graphic 45 blog a few days ago.  As soon as I saw the new line by Graphic 45, this project popped into my head. I immediately thought of the movie scene where all of the card solders were trying to catch poor Alice... the cards were flying this way and that... and little Alice finally got away. I thought a hanging mobile would be a fun way to make those cards fly again!

A few notes... don't be afraid to try "off the page" projects. And don't be afraid to embrace the creative process during a project like this. This project started as a vision in my head... oh... it was spectacular! Although it didn't turn out how I envisioned it at the start, the changes that occurred during construction made it even better! Let's jump into this whimsical and silly Alice mobile!

Step 1... Create your frame. Instead of doing a traditional circle hoop for the mobile, I wanted it to be the shape of a playing card. We used the dimensions from a real card and multiplied it until we had the size we wanted. My darling husband put the frame together for me (thank you, Sweetheart!)

Step 2 - Paint your frame and set it aside to dry. The paint I chose was black, but it actually turned out on the green side, which I totally loved!

Step 3... Creating the roof of cards. I cut a piece of chipboard that was just a bit bigger than the wooden frame because I wanted the roof to hang over the wooden frame just a bit. Then I folded up about an inch on the two long sides to ground the starting and ending rows. (See more detail below) I determined that I would need 4 playing cards per row. Be sure to have the cards overlap by at least 1/2". I knew this project was going to be mailed across the country, so the roof had to be strong! The overlapping of the cards will keep them rigid and less likely to cave in!

You can see in this photo that the two outer rows were adhered to the chipboard that had been folded up. Also, the cards hang below the level of the chipboard for a nice edge to the roof. All of the cards were taped together with my ATG gun...and it worked perfectly!

Step 4... The Roof. The construction of the roof was the most time consuming part of this project. Once the two outer rows were in place, the inner rows could be installed. I used a hearty line of hot glue to adhere each row of cards to the rows next to them. Also note that the rows are not lined up, but skewed just a bit. This is a "Wonderland" project, after all! Don't forget to put down a fun patterned paper on the chipboard before starting to glue down your rows.

I built up the roof to 3 1/2 layers. Several of the rows on the top were different shapes and sizes, again, it is a "Wonderland" project and I wanted it to be a bit odd. I also covered some of the cards with paper from the "Hallowe'en in Wonderland" line, and some I left as playing cards.

Don't forget to add patterned paper to the bottom of your roof BEFORE adhering it to the wooden frame... just trust me! ;-)

Step 5... The Trim. I had originally planned to only put one layer of crystal trim around the edge of the roof. However, as I hot glued the roof to the wooden frame, there were sections that did not lie down perfectly, leaving gaps between the bottom of the roof and the wooden frame... totally not cool! So I grabbed the lacy trim to go over the crystal trim and cover the gaps. Problem solved... and I actually like the lacy trim better than just the crystal trim!

Step 6... The Teapot and Cup (and spoons). I knew that I wanted something fun to hang, suspended, from the center of the mobile and I had a great idea! I went to Toys R Us and purchased an inexpensive plastic tea set. Then I went to Home Depot and purchase silver spray paint and a short piece of clear rubber tubing.

I took the teapot, cup and saucer and 4 spoons from the tea set and gave the rest to my daughter as a special surprise (bonus... embellishments for my project AND thankful kisses from my daughter!). I spray painted the tea set items and set aside. (Surprisingly, the silver spray paint worked beautifully! No dripping and it was very resistant to scratching!)

I used my hot glue gun to secure the tea cup to the saucer. Then my husband helped me drill small holes into the saucer and the top of the spoons so they could be suspended with fishing line.

I used a bit of brown paint to paint the INSIDE of the clear rubber tubing to create the impression that tea was flowing from the tea pot into the tea cup. I added a bit of clear glue on the inside of the tea pot and the "flowing tea" was secure.

To create the whimsical look of tea spraying from the tea cup, I hot glued some green floral foam inside the tea cup. Then I took several feathers and poked them into the foam until I achieved the desired look. The "pouring tea" is not secured to the tea cup (again, because the project was going to be mailed to CHA Chicago and back). However, the tea cup and the tea pot were suspended to be sure that the "pouring tea" would line up properly when hung.

Finally, I cut hearts from "Hallowe'en In Wonderland" papers and black Bazzill Cardstock. I cut out some of the fun "Jabberwocky" cards, distressed and inked them. Each suspended piece of the mobile has double sided hearts and/or cards (double sided so the fishing line could be adhered between the hearts/cards.) I added some fun trim to hang the project (use a staple gun to be sure the trim will hold the weight of the project.) I added some crystals and this project was done!

Whether you create an Alice In Wonderland inspired mobile or not, I hope this tutorial provided you with some tips and inspiration for your next fun project! Make it a curious day!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Project 365 - Our 3rd Annual (and last) OGHS Team Dinner

The annual sunset team photo... with the Del Norte tombstone, of course!
Let me just tell you how much we enjoy hosting one of the Varsity Football Team dinners each year.  We have been fortunate that Chris started on Varsity as a Sophmore, so we have had 3 AWESOME years to feed the team.  We have always hosted the dinner right before Halloween (because we go all out with the decorations), and I have always made my (traditional Halloween dinner) homemade chili for the boys.   

We were SOOOOOOOO honored that Principal Allison, VP Alan Williams and VP Julius Lockett joined AD Jason Patterson and the coaching staff at our dinner this year!
This year, I cooked for 2 days and made 61 POUNDS of homemade chili!!!  The MENU:  Chili served in sourdough bread bowls, Caeser Salad, HUGE baked potatos with ALL the fixings and cake for dessert.

Prince (one of my favorite guys) and Chris LOVING the dinner!
A cool side story... as I was leaving the grocery store with the bread bowls the morning of the dinner, I was stopped by an alumni football player who said, "Mrs. Locher, are you hosting the "Chili Dinner" for the team tonight?"  I didn't remember the player, but he sure remembered (and gushed) over the dinner.  Moments like that make it ALL worth it!!!

These guys knew to show up early... among my favorites (sorry, but after all these years, I do have favorites, #50 Eddie Pietrenka... what a GREAT kid!)
It was a wonderful night with a team of boys that I would host ANYTIME... so respectful... so down to earth... our OGHS VARSITY FOOTBALL TEAM!!!

Project 365 - Halloween (yes... finally!)

It might be mid-November, but I'm finally getting Halloween posted (getting ready for the MLS Blog Hop this weekend... WOOO HOOO!!!) So, letting the photos do the talking, here is our traditional pumpkin carving, we had neighbors the Sisks and Griggs and friends the Seltmanns over for my homemade Chili, Ida's Cornbread, and Marlene's appetizers, and Trick or Treating.  BOO!
Anna LOVES Pumpkin guts... and more importantly, roasted pumpkin seeds (both the garlic and the cinnamon sugar!)
You are never too old to carve pumpkins...
Anna... I'm mean "Alice In Wonderland"... and, of course, my handmade Graphic 45 Trick or Treat bag!!!

Traditional pre-Trick or Treat photo... I really hate that huge spider and web... but the family LOVES it (probably because it freaks me out!)

Kendra and Chris... teenagers always come in last minute to find costumes, so Kendra pulled out a pair of Anna's wings and one of her ballet skirts (yeah, she fit in Anna's skirt) for this darling Fairy costume... Chris went as "Captain America"  Yeah, they are pretty darn cute! :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Project 365 - "Halloween Town" at Vail Lake

There is a beautiful campground in Temecula that we (The whole Donnelly clan... Mom and Dad... Mary, John and the kids, and our family) enjoy visiting during their Halloween Spooktacular each October... Vail Lake. For 3 years in a row, we (our group) won the costume contest, but we decided not to go for the past 2 years as Anna and her cousins were at a difficult age to handle while camping. This year, we were READY TO GO!

For the few weekends leading up to Halloween, Vail Lake puts on an EXTRAVAGANZA... they have haunted hay rides, a haunted house, costume contests... all of the campers decorate their campsites (and I mean DECORATE... some people come several days in advance and spend those DAYS decorating their campsites!)... there is trick or treating from campsite to campsite... it is an AMAZING place to enjoy the family... well, it used to be.

I want to focus on the fun that we had during this family weekend, but I feel I would be remiss in my overall story if I didn't warn you about the complete and utter mismanagement of the campground! I'm not going into our story, or the story of 75% of our neighboring campers... just beware if you plan on going camping at Vail Lake during any of their big annual events such as the Halloween Spooktacular or the 4th of July events. It is such a shame because it is SUCH a beautiful place, but if you want to deal with your site being sold out from under you, not being told about it until you show up, and then being told to "run down and claim another site before the paid campers get there," then this is the campground for you. Oh, and confirmation numbers don't matter. And there will not be any compensation as you show up for a fun weekend and are told to go home. This is the same story that we heard over and over and over while we were there... sadly, it happened to us, too. HOWEVER, we were NOT going to let that mess ruin our weekend... we had fun DISPITE the mess the management created and refused to fix.

I am going to let the photos do the talking, but first, just a few notes:

Mom and Dad have an AWESOME trailer, and as a gift, they rented a large trailer for us and Mary's family! We usually tent camp, so having a trailer was a HUGE luxury for us!

Our group costume... I was inspired by the "Hallowe'en In Wonderland" line by Graphic 45 and "convinced" everyone to recreate the "Unbirthday Party" scene from "Alice In Wonderland." I handmade 4 "card soldier" costumes and we had our Alice, Queen of Hearts and White Rabbit.

Please enjoy my favorite photos from our 2010 "Halloween Town!"

John was "crafting" with me... he was making costumes for Mary and himself... they were going as a "Pair of Dice"
Jeff... doing what he does best... fixing bikes so everyone could go on a bike ride!
Mary... posing with the first felt hoodie I made... along with the photo of the "card soldiers" from "Alice In Wonderland"... Loooooooooking Gooooooood!
Yes, I even have a crafting table at our campsite!  And what good scrapper would be caught dead without her ATG gun, scissors, cutting mat, and spray adhesive... (and pre-cut hearts and spades, compliments of my Cricut!!)
Penny and Bob and the kids came up for the Saturday night festivities... Cat and Anna... before the REAL fun began!
Mary and John brought the SILLIEST decorations... like this cross that says, "I TOLD YOU I was sick!!!"
Penny, Mary and Matthew... camping family fun...
Yes, my Brother-in-law can be a TOTAL DORK... notice the black fingers from his crafting time with me!  LOVE YA, JOHN!
Bob didn't want to be a part of the "Wonderland" group... he had his OWN scary outfit... Here he is, posing next to one of the camp site props...
The group... minus Jeff (the other black "card soldier" and scary Bob!)... The Alice Group (without the props), Jessica the Sailor, and the Pair of Dice.